Welcome to the Business Bites Podcast, the podcast for busy entrepreneurs. Whether you’re an online entrepreneur or seeking after brick and mortar success, this podcast brings you quick bites of content so you can learn and grow anywhere you are. Now here’s your host Rachel Brenke.
What is one thing that causes legal issues? Besides the common sense answer of you guys just not knowing the law or how to do this, which is why I exist, it is even more simplistic than that. It is miscommunication or mismanaged expectations, it can be both. Going back to what we just talked about on the liability and three ways to protect, one of them was contracts in terms of policies, in terms and conditions type sheets, those can also help to set expectations and set communications into play, especially since they’re all in one place.
But you also have to think a little wider than that as well, when you’re giving information to a customer or to a client, you have all the social media messaging that goes out, all the interactions that you may have, if you have a customer service team, when you’re dealing one on one with the client, try to make sure that everything and all the information you’re providing is consistent as possible, especially if you do have a contract or policy sheet or terms and conditions, that it mirrors that as well. We want to have the consistent messaging and consistent expectations across the board.
I also like to also reiterate to the client or customer really important things, a rule of three. If it’s something that’s really important that I want them or act on or to remember, I try to tell them three times within our process.
Another thing to keep in mind whenever you’re developing your communications, and again, this isn’t just what’s in the contract, this isn’t just what’s in your website, it’s everything. It’s every interaction, anywhere that your client searches you and your messaging your brand and in your business is to make sure that you are giving enough information for them to have that expectation set, the communications are clear, and it’s also helping them to feel confident.
I think this is where we departed from the legal stuff, we set the expectations, we’ve put out this information to legally protect this, but you also have to consider the more information that you provide a client without overwhelming them, but the more information that you provide them along the process and you hold their hand of the entire relationship, whether you’re selling products online or you’re a photographer that’s photographing a family, dealing with them from intake all the way through ordering, they’re album or their canvases, or Christmas cards, the more information that you can provide to a client or a customer, the more their buyer confidence goes up and up, the more questions that they have to ask over simplistic things such as payment, when are they gonna get their product, how does this work, and how does that work, stuff that should’ve been answered in the contract or the terms and conditions or your policy sheet, the more their confidence is gonna go down, the more their buyer confidence starts decreasing.
There’s less problems out there when it comes to pricing a product, quality of product, or perception of quality of products. The majority of issues, so circling back around to the question that was asked, there are more issues with the lack of buyer confidence based on the actions that we take or don’t take. The things we say, or we don’t say. That is the root, and that’s the foundation that makes it all shaky. So if someone is on the edge about whether or not they want to invest a couple thousand dollars in your product or service, the more questions they have to ask you and get you to sell them on it, the less likely they’re gonna buy it. You want to provide as much information up front. Contract does that. Your descriptions do that. Your marketing does that. All of that information needs to be provided to them.
One of the things that we like to do here with our team, and this is what I encourage you guys to do, and this goes for our contracts but also goes for all the information that we put out. We keep a running list of questions that we receive from our clients and our customers. If people are asking the exact same questions over and over, they’re telling you the problem that you need to fix. They’re telling you where the buyer confidence is being shaken. Listen to them.
We keep a running list in Excel spreadsheet and Drop Box so that we can all share. You can use Google Drive or any of those other type of systems. But we keep this so that we’re making sure that not only are all these questions and stuff answered in our contracts or our terms, but also so that we can try to hedge them off and provide as much information up front. Again, building up the buyer confidence so it makes them easier for them to pay us in the end. It makes them more confident in who we are and what we’re selling, and an overall happier experience. So we keep that running list. We reevaluate it. I will come and check in and look on that. My team really kind of makes that list for me, but I’ll check in and see. If we’re seeing a lot of the same question, we’re gonna go ahead and try to fix that right away. That can’t wait for our quarterly meeting. That’s something that we need to get on right now.
And you know when sometimes you feel like you’ve put a … Fix on it, but it’s only been a band-aid. Maybe you put the information into the support docs. You know, it’s been a frequently asked question you’ve stuck on your site, but still people are asking the exact same questions. Or you feel like you’ve said it in a consultation or a one-on-one, there has to be a solution that you have to sit and brainstorm. How do you fix that? What are the top pain points? You can also take those top pain points and make that your social media content, your blog content, you’re newsletter content, because they’re yearning for information. They’re yearning for education on little aspects of your business. They want to hear it, use it, and give it back to them as well.
So that long winded answer to the question was what is one thing that causes legal issues? It is the lack of communication or mismanaged expectations. You guys are passing each other somehow in communication. There’s issues that are arising. And the thing about it is, typically it’s not a large issue that happens. This is what I see when people come in to my law firm, my inbox, since I mostly work virtual, by the way, is they will say, “I have this problem.” And I will say, “Show me all your communications.” And I’ll realize that at first glance it sounds like a minor problem, right? It’s something small and you go, “How are they in a lawyers inbox? Or why are they spending all this money on me?
And come to find out it’s been a sequence of small things along the way. Things that also may have been remedied, but they weren’t. They were exacerbated because there was lack of information given. You, as the business owner, didn’t try to provide that information. The buyer’s confidence started going down. The customer or client was having to ask more questions and then they were becoming unhappy in their perspective on those little things started becoming bigger and bigger and bigger. The problem was this big, as opposed to what it really is in reality had you set the expectations and communicated about it.
And I know that you can’t fix every issue that goes on out there. Sometimes you just have to roll with it, and it is what is it. But if you’re seeing the common problems over and over again, talk. Make sure you’re communication is on point. I feel like I’m beating this dead horse here, but I’m saying this repeatedly because there’s some of you that are gonna go, “Okay, great. I communicate great with my clients.” And they’re gonna be on my inbox in a couple of weeks asking for help because you didn’t fix. You didn’t provide that little bit of information.
But one of the things I always like to guide the small business owners that I work with is to … Besides that pain point list, is I want you to take your communications, whether it’s one-on-one communication, it’s email, I want you to write it all out, okay? And I want that to mirror, also, this entire work flow process that you have of your client or your customer for intake [inaudible 00:07:43].
Whether it’s a photography client that’s coming to your inbox booking a session, whether it’s an athlete coming into your box because they’re wanting to become a new member, or maybe they’re coming into your online shop. Write out every single step. Even from a user perspective. When you write out how you’re gonna develop an application or to drive somewhere, you have to have the map.
So write the map out of what they do from inception, the information, all the steps they have to take, to how they either get engaged with you, or they buy into you, or you buy their product or service, all the way through when they’re really happy at the end. Take that list, because you’ll start seeing inefficiencies once you actually create the list, and mirror that to all the communications that you’re providing for your client. As a cheat, I have contract templates and contracts that I use that are the backbone of that. All three of those mirror one another because it is in a logical fashion for everyone to understand. The contracts are in a logical fashion for everyone to understand in that time line process like I just explained to the work flow to be. The email templates are also gonna be in that process because that is the communication that my clients or customers are gonna receive along the step.
And I’m gonna tell them at every step of the way what we just did, what we’re about to do, right? Tell them what you’re gonna tell them, tell them, and then tell what you just told them, and tell them what you’re gonna tell them again. And so that is the process that I want you guys to take and I really just gave you guys enough homework, if you don’t already have that in place, to get your business completely freaking efficient and make sure that you’re on point adhering to your contracts, and making sure there is not lack of communication or miscommunication issues.
Thanks for joining Rachel on this episode of the Business Bytes. For show notes, a list of recommended tools, or referenced episodes, you can find them at Businessbytespodcast.com. Until next time.
Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.